Michigan Man Dead in Mercer County Crash

A 55-year-old Michigan man died Wednesday after a crash on Interstate 80 in Mercer County.

Michael K. Holder, 55, of Lansing, died after his 1993 Mercury Villager slammed into the back of semi truck that had no working taillights and was driving slowly because of three blown-out tires.

The accident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in Wolf Creek Township, officials said.

Holder was pronounced dead about one hour later at Grove City Hospital, according to a Pennsylvania State Police report.

PSP troopers said the semi truck was heading westbound on I-80 when the tires blew out, causing the trailer’s taillights to malfunction.

The truck driver continued on to the I-79 interchange where he turned around to head back to Barkeyville. Troopers said the semi was travelling about 15 miles per hour when Holder’s van smashed into the trailer.

His car ended up in the on-coming traffic lanes about 150 yards from where the initial crash occurred.

Police said the driver of the semi, Wilfredo Suarez, 53, of Clifton, N.J., could face charges of having malfunctioning trailer lights. Suarez, who was transporting a load of grape juice, was uninjured.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Tuesday the highway stretch, from the Route 173 Grove City exit in Mercer County to the Route 8 Barkeyville exit in Venango County was closed for about nine hours while officials investigated the crash.

“This is one of those incidents where if he’d have stopped his vehicle, a towing service would’ve come out and fixed his vehicle right on the side of the road instead of trying to drive it back and get it fixed,” PSP Cpl. James Powell said.

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